Sunday 13 February 2005

That's Entertainment

As reported in a previous article, CNN's Chief News Executive, Eason Jordan, stepped on his...., um, suffered a severe case of foot-in-mouth disease recently.

Now there's this, in CNN's Entertainment section :
CNN chief news executive Eason Jordan resigned Friday, saying the controversy over his remarks about the deaths of journalists in Iraq threatened to tarnish the network he helped build.

Jordan conceded that his remarks at the January 27 World Economic Forum were "not as clear as they should have been."
So, go looking through the CNN archives for previous reporting of this "controversy", and you get... nada. Zip. Tiddly-squat. Similarly for mainstream media outlets such as the LA Times.

Jordan is no minor corporate flunky. He was Chief News Executive of the Cable News Network. So why did he resign, especially since the transcripts and video from the conference had been blocked from release? As he's a major player in the World Economic Forum Council, selected extracts of the video that would have exhonourated him could have been obtained with a single word.

The overwhelmingly likely, even inescapable conclusion is that the problem Mr Jordan faced is that his words were "as clear as they might have been". So clear that they were (as many eyewitnesses claim) completely damning. A few minutes research on Mr Jordan's history of saying things like this would cast really severe doubts as to the credibility of the excuses he offered during his resignation.

But we'll never know, as the video won't be officially released.

What we do have is the highly entertaining story of mainstream media trying to figure out a way of reporting a major media and political event without having even hinted that the causative "controversy" existed.

Now it would take a severely irrational analyst to conclude that there was some Vast Mainstream Media Conspiracy. The problem is one of culture : there is insufficient variety of opinion in the wire services (dominated by an oligopoly of Reuters, AFP, and AP), and insufficient variety of opinion in the editorial staff of major news organisations. How bad is the problem? Not incurable, these things do tend to leak out after a while, and the Internet gives worldwide access to many of the local and regional news outlets (Podunk Pikayune-Intelligencer, Wagga Advertiser, Moose Jaw Gazette etc), as well as non-Anglospheric national papers such as the Straits Times. But the problem is bad enough so that we have things like the Eason Jordan affair, Rathergate, and so on.

The question is - what else are we missing? Not political stuff so much as other things of importance that we should be informed about, but which the monoculture of Mainstream Media editorial opinion means we never see?

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